Malone: 'I'm embarrassed; every night it's the same thing'
Last November in Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins registered 29 points and seven rebounds against Brook Lopez and the Nets. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
The Brooklyn Nets remain confident that they'll jell as the season goes on, and a three-game Western Conference road trip would appear to give them an opportunity to bond.
A matchup with the reeling Sacramento Kings would also seem to provide the Nets with the chance to avoid a third straight defeat Wednesday night.
Brooklyn's addition of a handful of veteran players, namely former Boston stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, hasn't led to consistent results so far. The Nets dropped to 2-4 after a 96-91 defeat to visiting Indiana on Saturday.
"We're just learning to play together. We didn't have everybody healthy for training camp and we're all coming together and trying to win a championship and it doesn't happen overnight," said point guard Deron Williams, who had his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 assists.
Brooklyn is also 0-3 on the road, its worst start there since losing its first 12 games in 2009-10.
"We're not panicking. We know it's going to come together," Williams said. "We're confident that we can overcome these little struggles and we're going to stay together no matter what's happening on the outside."
The Nets could gain a little more confidence and their first road win Wednesday against the Kings (1-5), losers of five in a row. Sacramento was beaten by a combined 24 points in a home-and-home sweep to Portland over the weekend.
The Kings were outrebounded 52-33 in a 96-85 home loss Saturday and 47-31 in a 104-91 defeat Friday. That had first-year coach Michael Malone vowing to shake up his lineup for Wednesday's game.
"I'm embarrassed. Every night it's the same thing," Malone said. "We finally get a night where we defend at a decent level, but we can't rebound. We got outworked on the glass. I think we've got a lot of guys who just care about themselves on this team. Changes will be made before we play on Wednesday."
DeMarcus Cousins was a bright spot in the two losses, scoring a combined 68 points, but no other Kings player had more than 13 in either game.
"In this league you can't be too inconsistent; you need to be a pro for 48 minutes," guard Greivis Vasquez said. "You've got to hate losing, You can't accept losing."
Cousins averaged 28.5 points in last season's two matchups with the Nets - his best showing against any opponent in 2012-13 - but the Kings extended a three-game skid in the series. Brooklyn has also won in seven of the past nine matchups and in each of its last two visits to Sacramento.
The Kings are seeking to avoid their worst start since beginning 1-7 in 1990-91. They're 1-5 for the first time since 1997-98.
The Nets' Andray Blatche averaged a team-best 18.5 points in last season's matchups but he's scoring 6.3 per game so far this season.
Reserve forward Andrei Kirilenko will not make the trip with Brooklyn because of a recurrence of back spasms. After playing in four consecutive games, he was forced to sit out the loss to Indiana.